Animal advocates worry about dogs left outside at the Chester County Animal Shelter

CHESTER COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - With temperatures well below freezing for most of the area this week, animal advocates in Chester County say they're concerned about animals left out in the cold at the Chester County Animal Shelter.

"The temperatures are deadly," animal advocate Diana Holcomb said. "I just don't want them miserable in the cold."

Holcomb says she first learned about the alleged conditions of the animals from a Facebook post, which claims the animals were wet and shivering, with no hay or shelter to keep them warm.

WBTV asked officials with the Chester County Sheriff's Office, which oversees the shelter, about these claims.

"All the animals that we have whether they're housed indoors or outdoors have shelter, water, food blankets and it may be hay," Chief Deputy Robert Sprouse said. "They have everything they need to keep them warm during these cold nights."

There are two buildings that house dogs and cats at the animal shelter. The upper building which can be seen from Dawson Drive and the lower building down the hill. Holcomb says it's the lower building that they are most concerned with.

"It actually needs to be bulldozed, it's just that bad. It's a shell of a building with kennels in it," Holcomb said.

Major Dwayne Robinson Sr. says the lower building is not ideal, but they are making the best of what they have while they wait for the county to fund renovations to the shelter.

"They've already started doing the electricity work there and then they are going to re-roof it, put the sides in and other things," Major Robinson said. "What they [animal advocates] want is what they want, and they want it right now, but that can't happen without raising folk's tax money."

"What their expectations may be, we just can't do. We can't house all these animals inside," Chief Sprouse said.

The sheriff's office says the animal shelter has a small budget from the county, but mostly relies on community donations and grants from the Luke's Foundation. Major Robinson says they just finished $20,000 worth of renovations to the upper building this summer that was funded by the Luke's Foundation.

He says the county has agreed to pay for upgrades to the lower building. He is also writing to receive another grant from the Luke's Foundation to get more renovation funds.

"There are creative ways to raise money, governments do it all the time," Holcomb said. "Raise the money to at least upgrade the building before a bond referendum is passed to build a new shelter."

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